Bobby Jones Masters Jacket Topic of Conversation in Upcoming Heritage National Auction
We previously highlighted the upcoming Chicago Signature Vintage Sports Collectibles Platinum Auction at the 2011 National, and although expectations are high for the event, conversations have turned to one item in particular. Included in the jam-packed auction is an official Masters jacket purportedly owned by the great Bobby Jones.
As originally reported by the Augusta Chronicle, experts and collectors do not seem to be able to agree on the origins of the jacket. The question is not centered on the validity of the jacket, but rather, which jacket it actually is. Augusta National is well-known for not allowing members to take their jackets off the golf grounds. Only the reigning Masters champion is able to keep the jacket in his possession for one year.
Jones expert, Sid Matthew, references several items that don't seem to match up about the jacket. Bobby Jones was a co-founder of the tournament and it seems unlikely that he would break one of the most unflinching rules such as taking the jacket off the grounds.
It is also unlikely that fellow co-founder, Cliff Roberts, would allow him to give the jacket away, which is purportedly how the jacket was able to make its way to auction in the first place. The jacket was allegedly gifted to a painter for his portrait of Jones that hangs at Augusta National.
The last item that does not match up is based on the jacket's quality. The jacket has no silk or satin lining and doesn't appear to match up with the high standards expected of the elite club.
A likely explanation offered by Matthew is that the jacket is a prototype of the original that was designed by Jones. Regardless, the jacket is still a significant piece of Masters and golf history but uncertainty about its true origins will likely limit bidding somewhat.
Although this jacket is traced back to 1937, the Masters began awarding winners the green jacket in 1949. The jacket in question was previously sold by Leland's auction house in 1999 for $94,909. Current estimates have the jacket valued at over $100,000.
For further information, view the jacket's auction listing at the Heritage website.